Content marketing works — that’s why everyone’s doing it. According to one survey, more than 90 percent of organizations use content in their marketing efforts, and the Content Marketing Institute assures us that content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing — for about a third the cost.
But leads aren’t customers. They’re almost customers, but until you convert them, they’re just interested parties — and interest doesn’t keep the lights on. In order to turn leads into customers (and dollars), you need to create content that will give them the nudge they need. Here’s how to make content that will push your leads into customers.
Optimize for People Who Are Ready to Buy
There’s a place for content marketing at every phase of the buyer’s journey, but the content that appeals to people who are just starting to explore their options looks a lot different from the content that will convince them to purchase.
This is going to take some trial and error. Use your intuition when it comes to the buyer’s journey for your specific product and what your customers might be doing at each point along the way. For example, people searching for “benefits of a foam mattress” or “how to get better sleep” aren’t ready to get their credit card out just yet. People searching for “best foam mattress for side sleepers” just might be.
Make an Emotional Connection
If you want to connect with your potential customers, they need to think of your company as more than just a faceless storefront. To make that connection, they need to see the faces behind the name — sometimes literally. Adding a face and a name to your content, making videos, and signing your social comments with real names is a good start to humanizing your brand.
But the other part of making a connection runs deeper: showing people that you’re genuinely willing and eager to solve their problem. Telling people about the technical specifications of the product is one thing, and we’re not saying that you should forego that entirely.
But the more important thing is to tell people how your product or service will make their lives easier, help them sleep at night, and get them home on time. Explaining the reason they should buy, rather than just what they’re buying, is the key to making the sale.
Take Advantage of Happy Users
You already have satisfied customers who would be happy to tell their friends and colleagues about the benefits of what you offer. You also have potential customers who value the word of their peers more than they value the marketing materials they’ve seen from you. All you have to do is bring them together!
User-generated content (UGC) can be a hugely advantageous tool for you if you give your customers the opportunity to tell their story. Talk to your social media followers, finding the most positive and informative comments and quoting them in your marketing materials and on your website. Solicit feedback through email surveys and prompts on your site, asking people what they like and don’t like about your product. You’ll make them feel heard, and you might even gain some valuable insights into product improvements that you hadn’t thought of. Finally, keep track of your UGC. When you use your analytics tools, make sure that you’re treating UGC like a separate channel or campaign so you can see what people are responding to
A Strong Foundation of Content
Supporting everything, your content has to be rock-solid. Whether it’s the exploratory, informative content that attracts people in the first place or the emotional, punchy content that turns leads into customers, everything you produce has to be useful, informative, targeted, and relevant. Good content has to come first — the rest will follow.